Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Ahead of the end of year festivities, the House of Representatives, yesterday, directed the police and other security agencies to dismantle multiple checkpoints on highways and roads leading to, and within, the South East geo-political zone.
The House equally urged security agencies to collaborate with one another and avoid duplicating efforts in the discharge of their duties in the South East.
The Green chamber also directed the Federal Ministry of Works and the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency( FERMA), to remove all abandoned makeshift roadblocks/security checkpoints and debris from the roads and highways lot facilitate free flow of traffic in the South East.
This followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Obinna Chidoka, under matters of urgent public importance, on multiple checkpoints on highways leading to the South East and within the zone.
Chidoka, in his lead debate, said over the years various security agencies, including Nigerian Police, Army, Customs, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, as well as the Federal Road Safety Corps, have maintained multiple makeshift roadblocks/security checkpoints on roads and highways leading to and within the South East.
“These multiple makeshift roadblocks/security checkpoints, couple with the terrible condition of roads leading to and within the South East are causing unnecessary traffic buildup with untold hardship on road users, including the sick and elderly ones, requiring emergency medical attention or evacuation.
“These roadblocks/security checkpoints with used tires, timber and metal barricades are often left on the roads and highways when not in use, which creates hazards for unsuspecting motorists, especially at night, and in some cases are reportedly used by armed robbers who rob and terrorize road users at odd hours,” said Chidoka.
The lawmaker said there was the need for the immediate removal of the multiple checkpoints so as not to subject people returning home for end of year festivities to unnecessary hardship.
“With Christmas and New Year holidays fast approaching, when south easterners within and outside Nigeria usually travel home to celebrate with their families, friends and loved ones, traffic buildup on the roads leading to and from the South East will increase exponentially with increased hardship on motorists and other road users, as has been the case in recent years when some motorists and road users were in traffic for more than 24 hours,” he stated.
In a related development, the House has directed Julius Berger Nigeria Plc to submit a monthly report to it on the multi-billion naira Abuja-Kano expressway.
Chairman, House Committee of Works, Abubakar Kabir Abubakar , in a statement, yesterday, said that was part of the resolution reached at a tripartite meeting with officials of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and Julius Berger Nigeria Plc.
Abubakar said Julius Berger confirmed to the committee that it had received N50, 856,044,301,27 billion, representing 32 per cent of the total budget for the road.